The fourth stage of the afforestation project funded by the World Bank is soon to start in Hebei Province in north China.
The forestation program, namely Continuous Development Project for Forestry, which covers some 160,000 hectares of land in nine cities and 60 counties in Hebei, involves a total investment of 600 million yuan (over 72 million U.S. dollars), including a World Bank loan of 43 million U.S. dollars.
Surrounding Beijing and Tianjin Municipalities, Hebei Province plays a vital role in protecting the environment in the region. Local government of Hebei has managed to improve the ecological system by combating the sand calamities with funds from the World Bank.
The planting of shelter belts and construction of agricultural facilities have turned former sandy wastelands along several rivers into fertile and high-yielding fields and helped relieve local residents of poverty.
Dingzhou City in Dasha River drainage area has acclaimed 1,600 hectares of new farmland with a loan from World Bank, creating an increase of over seven million yuan (over 840,000 U.S. dollars) each year in earnings for the city.
(People's Daily 02/06/2001)